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#2270858 - 05/04/14 08:01 AM Looking for a new "stretch goal"  
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Saranoya Offline
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Saranoya  Offline
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Brussels, Belgium
Hi everyone,

I've finished learning Chopin's Nocturne n 19. It was way (and I mean *way*) beyond me when I started. But I feel confident now that I will be able to play it adequately at my upcoming piano exam, which is June 13. This is not to say that my rendition of it rivals any professional pianist's version; of course it doesn't. It's just gotten to a point now where I no longer need to feel embarrassed playing it in public.

I spent over four months getting to this point, and now I need another piece to take the Nocturne's place. Which is to say, I need something I can get ready to perform in three-four months or so, and which "speaks" to me enough that I will actually be wanting to spend that much time learning it. I've considered doing Mozart (K545), but although that would probably take me a long time to get up to tempo while preserving the requisite accuracy, evenness and musicality, I fear it would also get old rather quickly. There's a reason Mozart called it an "easy sonata": it is exceedingly predictable.

There is another Chopin piece (Grande Valse Brillante in A minor, opus 34 n 2) that I tried to tackle last summer, and ultimately dropped because I was running out of time without moving appreciably closer to something I could have presented to my teacher in September without shame. Maybe now, I am closer to where I need to be in order to learn that, and I should give it another try. However, I'd like to avoid doing two major Chopin projects in a row.

So then, LarryShone's current thread drew my attention to Rachmaninov's prelude in C# minor (opus 3 n 2), which fulfils the requirement of "speaking to me" handsomely. But it is probably something that would take me far longer than three months to even just get under my fingers, let alone play the way it was intended.

So I turn to you guys: tell me about the pieces that keep you motivated; the things that you think might not be quite within your reach yet, but close enough that you can "feel it", so to speak; the ones that inspired you to take up playing the piano in the first place. Maybe if I listen to a bunch of them, I'll find something I really, really want to tackle next.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
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#2270863 - 05/04/14 08:17 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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Greener Offline

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Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted by Saranoya

So I turn to you guys: tell me about the pieces that keep you motivated; the things that you think might not be quite within your reach yet, but close enough that you can "feel it", so to speak. Maybe if I listen to a bunch of them, I'll find something I really, really want to tackle next.

Do you like Bach?
I have a similar approach to you, it sounds like, Saranoya. The pieces I choose are often way stretching my capacity. Oddly enough, once in the hopper long enough and beyond the recording stage, most get to the point of being quite presentable.

I was looking for a Bach piece and have picked Badinerie. It is short but not easy. Actually, it does not seem to be that hard either. But that is just the reading part. Bringing to a reasonable performance tempo will be tough. At any rate, it is on the radar for August quarterly.

So here is one suggestion:



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#2270867 - 05/04/14 08:31 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Greener]  
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Saranoya Offline
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Saranoya  Offline
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Brussels, Belgium
Hi Greener,

Thanks for the suggestion!

I seem to have vague childhood memories of listening periodically to an orchestral version of this piece. That will screw with my brain if I try, now, to learn the piano version. I know because I'm also working on Bartok's Hungarian Dances, which I originally heard in an arrangement for two violins and a base. It's ... confusing, because while I am playing the piano version, all I can hear in my mind are those two violins.

So to clarify: I would like suggestions for things that were originally written for piano or some other keyboard instrument, or if they weren't, are obscure enough that I've probably never heard the "original" version.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
#2270872 - 05/04/14 08:44 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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Sam S Offline
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Georgia, USA
The Mendelssohn Songs Without Words or the Grieg Lyric pieces. You can learn a lot by playing through some of these.

There are 48 of the Mendelssohn - I've played most of op 19 and 53/5. My favorite of the Mendelssohn is 38/6 "Duetto", which I have played here. But here is a pro playing it:

[video:youtube]ZQtLgjZCEbQ[/video]

My favorite of the Grieg Lyric Pieces is "Gade", which I have also played, but here's a pro:

[video:youtube]_1IO0jeOuxg[/video]

Sam

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#2270898 - 05/04/14 09:53 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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peterws Offline
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You`ll feel this, lass. You can take it as far as you like. Have fun!

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vp_h649sZ9A[/video]


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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#2270905 - 05/04/14 10:12 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: peterws]  
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Saranoya Offline
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Saranoya  Offline
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Thanks, Sam and Peter!

I tried to tackle one of the Songs without Words before, for a themed recital on here. Unfortunately, I didn't get it done in time to actually participate. I'll have a look at them again, now.

Peter, I like your suggestion for which Mozart Sonata to try. I had no idea the Rondo alla Turca came from that!



Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
#2271016 - 05/04/14 03:00 PM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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hreichgott Offline
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+1 on the Mozart recommendation. Similar difficulty and much more interesting. And you get three really great, really different aspects of Mozart writing in the three movements.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

Working on:
Beethoven, Diabelli Variations
Barber, Souvenirs
Mozart, Magic Flute (piano/celesta part)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
#2271035 - 05/04/14 04:19 PM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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peterws Offline
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Originally Posted by Saranoya


Peter, I like your suggestion for which Mozart Sonata to try. I had no idea the Rondo alla Turca came from that!



I didn`t either. I never got that far; it`s long enough just doing the movements in the first section. I found a few tricky bits in there . . .bit o` rewriting and it was fine . . grin


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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#2271093 - 05/04/14 06:44 PM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: hreichgott]  
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Is this really of comparable difficulty? I'm learning K.545 at the moment and K.331 looks a fair bit harder.

#2271123 - 05/04/14 07:42 PM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Sam S]  
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zillybug Online content
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I agree with Sam. Many of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words are beautiful and you do learn a lot from them. They can be quite challenging in bringing out the melody. I have done 3 so far. The first 2 I did are the Venetian Boat Song, Ops 30, no 6 and then Consolation, opus 30, no 3. The last one I am working on now and at my teacher's insistence I am playing in a recital 2 weeks from today is On the Seashore, opus 53, no 1. It is really beautiful but I have found it much more difficult than the other two. Good luck with whatever you choose. I do think it is important to really love the music you are working on. My teacher had suggested May from Tchaikovsky's The Seasons so I listened to it and looked at the music but it just didn't speak to me so we went with the Chopin Nocturne in C minor, posthumous which I love but it will definitely take a lot of work.
Judy


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#2271194 - 05/04/14 10:45 PM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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MaryBee Offline
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Something Debussy, for sure. I feel like I never reach the bottom of his pieces; there are always more depths to explore. Some of the ones I've played and loved: Reverie (on the easier side), Girl with the Flaxen Hair (a little more difficult), Sarabande (lots of work, but very rewarding).

Picking out new pieces is so exciting. Have fun!


Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
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#2271223 - 05/05/14 01:06 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: WellTemperedPizza]  
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peterws Offline
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Originally Posted by WellTemperedPizza
Is this really of comparable difficulty? I'm learning K.545 at the moment and K.331 looks a fair bit harder.


The first section`s easy enough, and sounds lovely. The second is a bit harder . . .kinda goes on like that. But if you only get through the first two or three, it`s excellent stuff for building on. And Mozart had a sense of humour which other nusic lacks, imo.


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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#2271334 - 05/05/14 08:36 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: WellTemperedPizza]  
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hreichgott Offline
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Originally Posted by WellTemperedPizza
Is this really of comparable difficulty? I'm learning K.545 at the moment and K.331 looks a fair bit harder.

Well, maybe it's somewhat harder, still similar. I'd guess maybe 1 grade apart on a syllabus if not the same grade. K.331 does have a legato octave passage in the first movement which is probably the hardest physical challenge.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

Working on:
Beethoven, Diabelli Variations
Barber, Souvenirs
Mozart, Magic Flute (piano/celesta part)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
#2271366 - 05/05/14 09:40 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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Ganddalf Offline
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Norway
I don't think any of the Mozart sonatas are simple. As an alternative I suggest one of the Haydn sonatas. My feeling is that most of them are technically easier than the Mozart sonatas and still they are both brilliant and extrovert. Very fun music both to play and to listen to.

#2271367 - 05/05/14 09:53 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: hreichgott]  
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bennevis Online content
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Originally Posted by hreichgott
Originally Posted by WellTemperedPizza
Is this really of comparable difficulty? I'm learning K.545 at the moment and K.331 looks a fair bit harder.

Well, maybe it's somewhat harder, still similar. I'd guess maybe 1 grade apart on a syllabus if not the same grade. K.331 does have a legato octave passage in the first movement which is probably the hardest physical challenge.

Don't you think that the broken octave passages in the finale (Rondo alla turca) are way harder than anything else - especially to play it without sounding jerky?

K545 is mostly scales and arpeggios.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2271386 - 05/05/14 11:00 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Ganddalf]  
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Saranoya Offline
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Saranoya  Offline
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Originally Posted by Ganddalf
I don't think any of the Mozart sonatas are simple.


Well, Bennevis is right that K545 is mostly scales and arpeggios. I would say that therefore, it is *conceptually* simple. Doesn't make it particularly easy to play beautifully, though smile.

Originally Posted by Ganddalf
As an alternative I suggest one of the Haydn sonatas. My feeling is that most of them are technically easier than the Mozart sonatas and still they are both brilliant and extrovert. Very fun music both to play and to listen to.


I hear you! Which one(s) would you recommend I consider starting with?


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
#2271387 - 05/05/14 11:03 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: MaryBee]  
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Saranoya Offline
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Saranoya  Offline
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Originally Posted by MaryBee
Something Debussy, for sure. [...] Have fun!


Yeah, maybe it's time for some Debussy. I'll check out the ones you mentioned. Thanks! And oh, don't worry about the having fun part. What would be the point if I didn't, right?

smile


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
#2271398 - 05/05/14 11:36 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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Ganddalf Offline
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Originally Posted by Saranoya
Originally Posted by Ganddalf
I don't think any of the Mozart sonatas are simple.


Well, Bennevis is right that K545 is mostly scales and arpeggios. I would say that therefore, it is *conceptually* simple. Doesn't make it particularly easy to play beautifully, though smile.

Originally Posted by Ganddalf
As an alternative I suggest one of the Haydn sonatas. My feeling is that most of them are technically easier than the Mozart sonatas and still they are both brilliant and extrovert. Very fun music both to play and to listen to.


I hear you! Which one(s) would you recommend I consider starting with?


Oh, there are so many nice ones to choose from. My personal favorite is the A-flat major - Hob.XVI:46. Not the easiest Haydn sonata, but hardly as difficult as the Mozart sonatas.

Maybe you should consider the e-minor sonata Hob.XVI:34. The first movement is a Presto, but you don't need to push the limits to make it sound nice. Second and third movement are both managable, and still great music.

Also check out D-major Hob.XVI:19. It is very typical Haydn with delicate ornamentation and short phrases.

Some of the later Haydn sonatas are very interesting, but more difficult. At some places embellishments remind me of Chopin nocturnes. To start studying, however, I recommend looking at one of the easier ones.

#2271404 - 05/05/14 11:51 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: bennevis]  
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hreichgott Offline
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Don't you think that the broken octave passages in the finale (Rondo alla turca) are way harder than anything else - especially to play it without sounding jerky?

Not really. Not as long as you learn it slowly and relaxed first. I learned that movement in between Clementi Op. 36 no. 1 and Op. 36 no. 3. My teacher modified it for my small hands (at the time) by replacing the solid octave section with another broken octave section. I am pretty sure I remember working up to it by playing either the tune or just A major scales with only the thumb, then only finger 5, then alternating slowly.
I now have Rondo alla turca in a collection of "showpieces" for students at that level (includes Solfeggietto in C minor by CPE Bach, Ivan is Busy by Khachaturian, etc.)


Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

Working on:
Beethoven, Diabelli Variations
Barber, Souvenirs
Mozart, Magic Flute (piano/celesta part)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
#2271405 - 05/05/14 11:53 AM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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hreichgott Offline
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Haydn is a great choice too. You might look at the other E minor, XVI:47, whose first movement is a breathtaking Adagio. I haven't played the more well-known one, but I think XVI:47 is easier.

Clarification: XVI:47 is in E minor in my Wiener Urtext edition. Their notes say it is an early version of the F major sonata which normally carries the number XVI:47. In the F major sonata, the same breathtaking Adagio is there in F minor.

Last edited by hreichgott; 05/05/14 11:57 AM.

Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

Working on:
Beethoven, Diabelli Variations
Barber, Souvenirs
Mozart, Magic Flute (piano/celesta part)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music
#2271425 - 05/05/14 12:42 PM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: hreichgott]  
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Saranoya Offline
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Thanks for all the great Haydn suggestions ...

... but I'm leaning towards Mozart wink. I'll take the Rondo alla Turca for a spin (I do think the technical challenges are a little more pronounced, there), and we'll see where I am a week from now.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
#2271488 - 05/05/14 03:39 PM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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I would say Chopin's Raindrop Prelude. I took time out years ago to learn it and though Ive gone rusty witg not playing I can sort of muddle through it. I love the piece.


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#2271508 - 05/05/14 04:13 PM Re: Looking for a new "stretch goal" [Re: Saranoya]  
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Funny you should mention the Raindrop Prelude. My teacher just gave that to me to learn.


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